This year (2016) I have tried a different feeding technique for the bees. In the past, I used a Boardman Feeder on each hive.
The following pictures show what a Boardman Feeder is and what they are all about:
The B-Haven Apiary originally started in Clements, California, located by Lake Comanche. This was a 47 acre ranch. It then moved to Sunnyvale, California, which is a suburban location. B-Haven Apiary has now been moved to Florence, Texas, which is an hour North of Austin and 30 minutes from Georgetown. In a previous blog, I described how I spent a significant amount of time clearing a one acre pasture for the apiary. The pasture was full of brush, cedar trees, and prickly pear. Kind of like a jungle. Now that the pasture is cleared, the wild flowers are blooming – Mustard, verbena, Indian paintbrush, etc. And of course the Texas state wild flower – blue bonnets! The wild flowers brought in the humming birds and the butterflies.
I have spent the last two weekends performing Spring cleaning duties in the B-Haven Apiary. Last year the apiary consisted of 5 hives. So how did these hives do over the Winter? Three hives survived.
Hive number 1 barely survived. The queen was still alive, but there was a very small amount of worker bees and very little capped brood. Hive number 2 looked pretty good. A lot of bees in the hive and plenty of capped brood.
Hive number 3 was off the charts. This hive was exploding. It was stuffed full of bees and would probably swarm in the near future.
Each weekend, I like to perform a little cursory inspection of the B-Haven Apiary.
Keep an eye on what’s going on. On Saturday, October 27, I noticed that there was no activity in front of the swarm hive. If you will recall, B-Haven Apiary currently consists of 5 hives and a Nucleus. Four of the hives were started from bee packages and the remaining hive was started from a friendly swarm. The Nucleus was started from a bee package.
On Sunday, August 26, our eldest son-in-law (Richard Chao) was nice enough to help harvest the last hive. This is the third year that Rich has helped in the honey harvest and he is becoming a pro. This is the hive (# 5) that was started by a swarm. At the beginning of the season, I placed empty hives in the apiary, to get ready for the new bee packages. We (Mathew Togmai – youngest son in law and I) picked up the bee packages from Steve Tabar in Vacaville and when we attempted to install the first package, we discovered that the hive was already occupied by a swarm. Fine with us. So we were very interested in how the swarm would perform as compared to the other hives started from bee packages.
On Saturday, August 18, the brothers Blankenship (Mathew and Phillip) helped extract honey from hive number 4. This hive clearly was the most productive this year. We removed 4 honey supers with mostly full frames. Looks like the total honey harvest will be about 15 gallons from this hive. Mat and Phil did an outstanding job removing honey. They were real pros, gathering honey from the frames. It was good to see such brotherly teamwork. We knocked off 2 supers in no time at all.
On Saturday, August 12, we had the pleasure of welcoming Alyson and Douglas Harrold to B-Haven Apiary. They had never participated in a honey harvest before, so this day was a new adventure for them. Alyson and Douglas both suited up and helped harvest hive number three. I guess they brought good fortune, since the yield from this hive is definitely greater than each of the other two hives that were already harvested.
On Saturday, August 4, B-Haven was graced by Pastor George and Edeen Negrete and two of their sons: George Jr. and Eddie. In total, they have three sons, but Gabriel was visiting his grandparents. Ah, a proper male-dominated household! I wonder if the Negretes have three sons because they are fans of the TV show “My Three Sons“, which aired from 1960 to 1972.
On Sunday, July 29, we kicked off the 2012 B-Haven Honey Harvest with a visit from the Togamis. Our youngest daughter (Desiree) is married to Mathew Togami. Mathew’s parents (Nancy and Kenji Togami) had never been involved in a honey harvest so we invited them to get check it out. I like to limit a particular honey harvest day to a single hive. We can then take our time and enjoy ourselves. Kenji, Mathew, and I all suited up, so we were adequately staffed. Nancy and Evelyn supervised from the wings.
Back in April I reported my efforts to rebuild lost beehives and employing a Hive Nucleus. Here’s an update on the B-Haven Apiary 2012.
5 Beehives + 1 Nucleus
If you recall, my apiary conists of 5 hives and 1 nucleus. 4 of the hives and the nucleus were started with packages and the remaining hive was started with a swarm. All 5 hives are doing well. They are all on their second honey super. The nuclues consists of 2 supers, each with 5 frames.
On April 14, we picked up five new queen bees packages from Honey Bee Genetics. Our intent was to kick of 2012 for B-Haven Apiary. But first I had to get the apiary ready for the new beehives. If you will recall from B-Haven’s 2011 Annual Report, all four of last years hives died; they did not make it through the Winter and Spring. As a result I decided to employ a Hive Nucleus in the apiary.
I just finished reading the February 2012 edition of the American Bee Journal. In this edition, I discovered a most interesting article: “The Half-Hive: Setting Up and Managing a Nucleus Hive“. The author, Larry Connor, does a wonderful job of explaining the proper use of a Hive Nucleus in an apiary. I have never really understood the purpose before. Mr. Connor does such a fine job, that I am now totally motivated to build and use a nucleus in my apiary thisyear.
I am very excited about the up and coming Honey Flow. That is, when the local flowers are blooming and there is sufficient necter production for bees to grow the hives. The Honey Flow usually starts some time in April.
2011 Honey Production
In the mean time, I would like to recap last years (2011) honey production. We started the season with a single hive, that had made it successfully through the winter. I decided to expand the apiary to four total hives. I thus needed to create three new hives.